Three Questions to Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt
Known for its authentic way of life, the heritage of its natives, its natural parks and endless plains, and the remnants of the famous Route 66, the Midwestern state of Oklahoma is a true crossroads of history and culture in the American South. The state, which borders Texas, is also known for its strong oil and gas industry and features of the world’s largest livestock markets. The mayor of its capital, Oklahoma City, David Holt, who knows Morocco well for having visited the Kingdom with other American mayors, granted an interview to MAP. He discusses Moroccan-American relations, the contribution of local governments to the consolidation of the centuries-old ties and strategic partnership between Washington and Rabat, as well as the role that tourism and sports can play in this dynamic. 1.Since you visited Morocco in 2018, what’s your assessment on the political and social and economic development in Morocco and on ways to strengthen bilateral economic ties. I greatly enjoyed my 2018 visit to Morocco, and the historical bond between the two countries is a special one we should always maintain. From what I understand, relations between the United States and Morocco have only gotten stronger in the last four years, and I’m pleased to see that. 2.What role can city mayors play in this regard? I think mayors and local governments are part of the political ecosystem that provides a foundation for good relations between nations. Our federal government officials need local political support for the choices they make, so when mayors have good relationships with a country, it helps. And there are oftentimes also opportunities for local leaders to build direct relationships with their counterparts in Morocco. 3.You have just met a delegation of the Royal Moroccan Golf Federation who recently formed a strategic alliance with the PGA of America, how can sport and tourism, in your view, help enhance people to people relations? First of all, the visit from the Federation to Oklahoma City was a wonderful one, and I was so glad they could spend some time in Oklahoma City. They even made time to play a round of golf! In my opinion, the most important contributor to international peace and economic growth is person-to-person engagement. We should take advantage of opportunities to appreciate our shared humanity and shared common interests. Sports and tourism are great catalysts for those person-to-person experiences. It is obviously economically beneficial for Morocco to pursue enterprises like golf that will draw visitors to Morocco, but sports and tourism are also important for international peace and stability. We all want to live in a world where we have experienced different places and different cultures through tourism and sports. Those experiences bind us together as humans and reduce the tensions between nations.